ENERGY > Gold-for-gas trade with Iran ‘wiped out’

ISTANBUL - Reuters

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US sanctions halt Turkey’s gold-for-gas trade with Iran, according to sources. REUTERS photo

US sanctions halt Turkey’s gold-for-gas trade with Iran, according to sources. REUTERS photo

Tighter U.S. sanctions are killing off Turkey’s gold-for-gas trade with Iran and have stopped state-owned lender Halkbank from processing other nations’ energy payments to the OPEC oil producer, bankers have told Reuters.

Turkey, Iran’s biggest natural gas customer, has been paying Iran for its imports in Turkish Liras, because sanctions prevent it from paying in dollars or euros.

Iranians then use those liras, held in Halkbank accounts, to buy gold in Turkey, and couriers carry bullion worth millions of dollars in hand luggage to Dubai, where it can be sold for foreign currency or shipped to Iran.

Halkbank has also been processing a portion of India’s payments for Iranian oil.

A provision of U.S. sanctions, made law last summer and implemented from Feb. 6, effectively tightens control on sales of precious metals to Iran and prevents Halkbank from processing oil payments by other countries back to Tehran, bankers said.

“Halkbank can only accept payments for Turkish oil and gas purchases and Iran is only allowed to buy food, medicine and industrial products with that money,” one senior Turkish banker told Reuters.

“They have to prove what they are buying ... so gold exports will definitely fall,” he said, adding that trade in Turkish gold bars to Iran via Dubai was already drying up as banks and dealers declined to buy the bullion to avoid the sanctions risks associated with the trade.


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Ummah Muslim

2/16/2013 7:57:21 PM

Erdogan has made Turkeys economy a succes. But this kind of sanctions are very bad for the economy of Turkey. The west doesn't want Turkey to get much stronger than it already is.

Kevin Snapp

2/16/2013 5:00:14 PM

llker Avni, does Turkey want Iran to have nuclear weapons? Do you think Israel is the only country over which Iran would like to exercise domination? Israel is a pretext. If Iran dominates Iraq and Syria, which, unlike Turkey, are unprotected by NATO's nuclear weapons, things will not look good for Turkey as "energy hub" or anything else.

sam stevens

2/16/2013 11:03:16 AM

Welcome the world of control Turkey, this is what being a member of the EU will also be like. Those riles will chain you to many many things you will not like. Wake up & do your homework...........you have nothing to gain by paying billions of liras/euros EVERY YEAR for membership of the EU. It is not the same as when you first dreamed of entering 50 years ago.

ilker avni

2/16/2013 7:16:54 AM

Trade with Iran worth twenty billion is wiped out by American ilegal sanctions proveing America does not care about the harm it does to Turkeys economy which is the main loser.America should compensate Turkey.A few hundred F-35 and a hundred apachi helicopters a year should do nicely.Mr Obama.
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